Recently a college near us ran into some controversy. A novelist came to read a selection from her recent book and students protested and burned copies of the book.
The book is:
The novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, is by Jennine Capó Crucet, an English professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who came to the Statesboro, Ga., campus last Wednesday to read “Imagine Me Here, or How I Became a Professor,” an essay included in the novel, according to a statement from Crucet.
Make Your Home Among Strangers was selected among a list of recommended readings for freshmen as part of Georgia Southern’s first-year experience program. It is the story of a first-generation American born to Cuban immigrant parents who is accepted into an elite university and is rejected by her family as well as the white students at the college.
Students were offended by some of her statements about white privilege and staged the protest. The school responded with statements.
Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing John Lester wrote in an email. Book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values, Lester told USA Today. But the university does uphold students’ rights to assert their freedom of expression, he said.
I cannot disagree with the students right to protest. However, I was a young child about 5 years old at the end of WWII. I am sure I didn’t remember much then but as I grew older and understood Hitler’s policies I was appalled by the burning of books. The episode at the school triggered memories of burning books and banning books. This, for me, is a reminder of where things are headed when we are told what we can and cannot read.
These students were not around when books were burned to remove freedoms. They don’t have experience of thoughts being limited and controlled. I know that was not their intention but I am always anxious when I hear about books being burned.
This morning in church the sermon focused on two pieces of Scripture one from second Kings and the other from Luke. Both pieces of Scripture were talking about someone with leprosy. In the Old Testament of the Bible lepers were considered unclean. Unclean meant that they could not participate in any regular community. They were outcasts. In other parts of the Old Testament specifically the Torah there are laws written concerning people with leprosy and other diseases. The law prohibited these people from being part of the community. I am sure that they were initially formed to prevent contagion and exposure to those who might pass on illness.
In Luke Jesus heals 10 lepers. According to the laws of that time those lepers must go to the priests and be properly assessed and determined that they were no longer unclean. Only the priests could make that decision. Jesus, however, asserted that they were now clean and sent them to be looked at. Jesus essentially sidestepped the law.
This exclusion of people from society still exists today. Laws have been written to prevent people from being excluded from life in the community. Job discrimination is not tolerated on many levels. However, often the wording of laws is somewhat ambiguous. When a law is written it is usually written in a certain period of time and to address specific concerns of that era.
Now we have cases before the United States Supreme Court questioning discrimination laws concerning sex. The laws were written in a time when Blacks and women were being discriminated against in the workplace. Now there are questions about that law. The questions really are concerning issues that we face today that we didn’t face in the 60s. So a determination is having to be made about the real meaning of the law. There are people on both sides.
There has been a lot of discussion on media for both sides. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”
The law itself is not in question. It’s the interpretation of the law that is the problem. Whenever these issues come up it is always a good idea to go and read the original law in order to understand the discussion. Listening to the talking heads does not give you an accurate picture. Sometimes looking up the Constitution or other documents will give you a clearer picture. Don’t take someone else’s word for something. Read it for yourself and make your own decision.
This morning our church celebrated the life of St. Francis as our church is named for him. It was a joyful day much needed after the last few days. We ended the service by singing a fun song called “all God’s critters got a voice in the choir?”
The young father in my prayers died last night. I will offer what solace and help that I can.
We do have the joy with the sorrow. The two are inextricably connected. Without one we don’t truly experience the other. How can one understand joy if one has not felt the impact of deep sorrow.
This wonderful quote from Henri Nouwen sums it up beautifully
Life is full of both and we must live it out.
Without a sense of humor I don’t think I would have lived as long as I have. When as many things fall apart as have around here recently laughing is the only option. It really reaches the ridiculous. Today the water went nuts and decided to gasp out of the faucets and produce brown water. Fortunately I have a husband who can see beyond the ridiculous and solve problems. So we are temporarily able to shower and have water to drink. Further solutions will come in time.
I think if asked what is the most important trait needed for survival and sanity I would have to say sense of humor.
Life continues to be interesting. This morning my Keurig quit. I use a golf cart to work in the yard. it is my workhorse. It wouldn’t go this morning and the cart that I hook to it has a ruined tire. I guess I should be happy since I have no plan to do yard work without it but there are things that need doing. Fortunately I have another coffee maker so life continues. Also my computer has gone to the hospital and I am using my laptop which I am poor at typing on so please forgive any flubs. Hopefully nothing else will go wrong.
We have been told that next week countertops that are slowing any more progress on our bathroom will be installed next Tuesday. So we sit with nothing being done until next week. The good new is the rest will be done quickly??? I hope.
Someone recently questioned me why “at my age” I would do things like Community Conferencing, Mediations or other volunteering when I could be playing bridge or joining clubs. What a question! I believe that “at my age” we should be giving back with what we have gained through living this life. I explained that to them….probably to no avail. Oh well, I tried.
Today I wrote on my other blog about the erosion of Christianity happening in our society. This erosion is also true in other areas of our lives. We have already lost so much of our moral sense and what behavior is acceptable.
Rudeness and uncaring have become the order of the day. Anger is rampant. We have a society of entitlement and very little else matters.
Our media is violent, making us tolerant of almost any kind of atrocity. The news is biased to the point of the ridiculous. In fact it should not be called news but opinion. Children have to be taught that what they hear and see must be scrutinized carefully to determine its veracity. Most of them accept what they see and hear as true.
Our government is corrupt and careless of their behavior but quick to accuse opponents of the exact same thing. Hollywood idols lead youth into imitating their behavior.
The frightening thing is what to do. How do we turn things around and bring sanity and moral fibre (moral fibre (Britain) The inner strength to do what one believes to be right; often an ability to make difficult decisions.) back to our country? I wish I had an answer. Yet, I am one and I will continue to make my voice heard whether heeded or not. That is all that there is.
Today I thought about the word disturbance. It struck me in two different ways.
This is what has been happening in my home and my life. Workmen tramp in and out. Stuff is carried about and dust collects daily on anything that doesn’t move. I clean in vain. I know that this will be over soon and the house will return to normal?? ( I use that word loosely) It will be wonderful to have things stay clean longer than one day. We will have a renovated and safe bathroom. We will not fall through the shower into the depths beneath. Hooray!
Our home will return to what I hope is:
In this country we take our freedoms for granted. Most of us are unaware of what it is like to live where there are few personal freedoms. We have never experienced it. Maybe we need to spend some time in North Korea or another country where the decision are not ours to make. As a people we are so naive.
Be grateful for the freedoms we have. We have to guard them carefully and speak out when we see them being eroded .
This morning as I was driving out of my driveway I saw what looked like a small creature lying beside the drive. As I passed I could see it was a small, possibly baby, raccoon. It lifted its head and shook in fear as I went by. It was obviously hurt. I assume it was hit by a car. As I paused and watched it gave a last breath and was gone. Sitting for a moment to be sure he/she was gone and then went to my appointment.
This quick incident really bothered me. I felt so much empathy for the poor creature that tears were close. It had such a short life. I really saw it as one of God’s creatures and said a prayer for its passing. I saw the same imagery as with the dogs and pictured it moving over the rainbow bridge. I can’t help experiencing grief over any creature I see in pain. I wish I could have helped but there was nothing to be done. We will give him/her a decent burial.
I can’t help but see all of creation being linked and the death of one creature, flower, tree, insect being part of the whole. I know I am epathic and can feel pain for the smallest thing but we all should feel that loss. It is what we have ignored for too long.
Go little raccoon, over the rainbow bridge and join those who have gone before you.
The other day I read…I don’t remember where…that sunflowers, if they can’t turn to the sun, will turn to each other. There is a real story in that. It seems that is something we do as humans. If we can’t turn to our important source of light (people) we turn somewhere else to seek comfort. We have to lean somewhere.
Applying that thought is up to us. It can be applied to God or another source of strength. Maybe we turn inward and if we don’t find what we seek there we may be lost. We each need somewhere to find solace and will seek it out. We are like the sunflowers.